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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I want to breed Jack dempsey's in a 75 gallon. Is that large enough. And how do I do this? Do I buy 4-6 juviniles and let them pair off? Or is there a accurate way of sexing juvies. I also want to add 3-4 silver dollares as a "dither" fish along with 2 male convicts. Is this setup ok or am I overstocking?

Oh and how old and how big are they when they start pairing off rougly?
 

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A 75 gal should be fine for breeding Dempseys in...

Buying a group of 4~6 is one way of getting a pair... I don't suggest it though as the pair will be siblings, but I'll admit that is how most "pairs" in the hobby are made.

Female Dempseys have Blue blotches on the gill plate... Males tend to be pale in the same area... but this usually only works to sex fish that are already several inches long...

Male Cons can get some decent size on them after a couple years. I think female Cons would work better in the long run...

I'm personally not a fan of Silver Dollars as Dithers, unless in a huge tank. In my opinion they get too big and take up space that the Cichlids could be using, or increase the bioload unnecessarily... Plus I think a 75 gal with 4 Cichlids will be a pretty full tank anyway...
 

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I wouldn't use the convicts as dithers. They are too horny and will try to cross breed with the JD's (may succeed at it to)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
what dither fish do you reccomend. I do want to keep dithr fish because I believe it helps the pair find a "common enemy" instead of fighting with each other.
 

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The Convicts will serve as Dithers at this capacity...

If your JDs are kept as a pair it is extremely unlikely that one of your JDs would choose a Convict mate over a JD mate...

I've kept Cons and Dempseys together for years and have never had them cross breed, although I understand it may be possible, I don't think it's very likely...
 

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Personally I don't think you need dithers period! I think you just need the pair and sperate as needed! Dithers IMO cause too many problems! And really don't get the chance to do their part! With a skitish cichlid such as Firemouths, Keyholes, mild tempered cichlids, and the like I can see it because the dithers purpose is to build confidence. And also what I have found when breeding is to just keep the pair in their own tank.

The JD's will kill any dithers you add! Paired or not! JD's have a huge mouth and WILL swallow everything and anything that can fit in their mouth even when they are juvies. When they are paired off the aggression IMO will too much for Convicts or any dither! The same with Salvini!

When using other cichlids as dithers can cause WAY too much problems than what they were intended for like crossbreeding and also fatal aggression issues.
 

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You may want to consider black skirt tetras. Black skirt tetras are formidable dithers for aggressive cichlids and will not take up much tank space. They are like little piranhas and will hold their own.

BS tetras do have downside though. They can be a pain because they are so effective at competing for food. I had a school of BS tetras with my JD pair and the tetras would steal the JD's cichlid pellets after eating their own flakes. These pellets were too large to fit in the tetras' mouths, and yet they dragged them under water and chewed on them until they were gone. This made it difficult to monitor the dempseys' food intake. BS tetras are the Oscars of the tetra world.

The feeding problem would most likely have phased itself out with the next upgrade in pellet size for the dempseys. The large pellets would have been too large for the tetras to take under. Another option for you would be to introduce the tetras after the dempseys' pellet had reached a large enough size, but by this time the dempseys would likely be large and aggressive enough to kill the tetras immediately upon adding them; I would not recommend this option.

Another thing to consider is that you will need to arrange for isolating fry for feeding pruposes if you wish to raise them. Feeding them "as is" in the 75 will be almost impossible because of the tetras' feeding greed.

Personally, I no longer have the BS tetras. After losing my female after a spawn as an indirect result of spousal abuse I gave them away....it wasn't their fault....I just didn't want to worry about them while trying to find a new female.

This may sound as though I am discouraging the use of BS tetras, but I am not. I actually think that they are one of your best dither options. Just be aware that they will require some extra work and some ***************, at least for an initial period.

If you do choose to go with BS tetras, I think a good plan for your 75 would be to add 12 BS tetras first and let them establish a presence in the tank. Then add 6 juvee dempseys and 1 juvee female convict (just one female con). The final stocklist would include: a pair of dempseys, one female con, and 12 BS tetras.

Good luck.

-Luke
 

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I had a group of Giant Danio's in with my pair of JD's for years. Both JD's completely ignored 'em. I believe the main reason was the Danio's were in the tank before either cichlids were introduced.
 

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giant danios work amazing. They school very well and are smart enough to fool the dempseys. I have used them for a while along with tiger barbs(which work well), swordtails(not so good), and red tailed sharks(works good). my 7 inch male jd can't catch the 2 inch danios no matter how hard he tries, he rushes the school and they nonchalantly break into 2 smaller groups and the jd blows right between them. surprises him every time! I would advise against the silver dollars because they can be skittish and add stress to your tank, being that it is on the small end for them, and they would unecessarily take up precious space for your pair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I like the idea of giant danios but I kinda want to keep something from thier region. Like black skirt tetras. But I want to ask, it sounds like black skirt tetras work really well. could I use a somewhat larger tetra like bleeding heart tetras or buenos aires tetras? both grow to about 3 and 4 inches.
 

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Buenos Aires tetras I'd choose over bleeding hearts, even though they are more likely to get eaten as adults ... the reason is their coloring is almost identical to the mexican tetras in the same genus that JD's are found with ... plus they are fiesty things as well.
 
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